Surrey fire service plans approved

Firefighters at night (generic)
Image caption Proposed changes to Surrey's fire service would mean cuts to night cover

Changes to the fire service in Surrey that will lead to reduced night cover have been approved by councillors.

Surrey Fire Authority said the changes, aimed to save £2.7m over four years, would lead to the better deployment resources.

It said more fire engines would be available in the daytime when they are most needed.

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) criticised the proposals, saying they could put lives at risk.

The authority changed aspects of the plan after consulting with residents.

Critical incidents

Changes included reinstating provision of fire engines during the night at Guildford, Reigate, Dunsfold and Walton-on-Thames after initial proposals suggested cutting them.

In addition, fire engines at Cranleigh and Chobham will be available 24 hours a day and not just at night.

Chief fire officer Russell Pearson said: "We have identified the times that demand is greatest and the plan reflects this, while maintaining suitable levels of cover throughout the day and night."

Under the plans, the authority also said it would aim to have one engine at critical incidents within 10 minutes and a second within 15 minutes for 80% of call-outs.

Its current target is to reach 75% of Surrey's population within eight minutes, with a second pump within 12 minutes.

Surrey County Council, which performs the role of fire authority, approved the public safety plan at a meeting on Tuesday.

Paul Greenwood, of Surrey FBU, said the slower response times would put lives at risk.

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